A distributed ledger is a database of transactions that is shared and synchronised across multiple computers and locations – without centralised control. Each party owns an identical copy of the record, which is automatically updated as soon as any additions are made
A blockchain records data across a peer-to-peer network. Every participant can see the data and verify or reject it using consensus algorithms. Approved data is entered into the ledger as a collection of “blocks” and stored in a chronological “chain” that cannot be altered.
Smart contracts – self-executing agreements based on blockchain technology – automatically trigger actions or payments once conditions are met. In the near future, they will use real-time information, such as asset GPS data, to trigger an event, such as a transfer of ownership and funds.